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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

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&8                                               IKTEODUCTION.
sionally appears in evidence, but where one instance becomes known a dozen escape observation, for cheating is so easy, even with careful supervision, that the temptation is hard to overcome when large financial stakes are put in hazard by absurd restrictions. It is a physical impossibility for any ten men to follow the material through the processes of manufacture to see that no false marking is clone, and although it is true that the buyer has the privilege of investigating the steel at a subsequent time, every one knows that engineers do not go into the erecting shops and cut pieces out of the angles, and test and analyze the samples. Moreover, a dozen random tests would not show that some pieces were not wrongly marked, or that some of the metal was not outside of the specifications. It-must also be considered that no ordinary tests can distinguish between Bessemer and open-hearth steel, or between acid and basic steel, while it is only the laboratory which can find whether the phosphorus is high or low. Inspectors should make reports based on their own knowledge; they should know how the steel is made, and, when fraud is suspected^ should pick out the bars from which the tests are to be cut, see that no substitution is allowed, take drillings to responsible chemists, and endeavor to stop the deceptions which place the honest manufacturer at a disadvantage, as well as nullify the calculations of the engineer. In so doing it is necessary to enforce the spirit rather than the letter of the law. In order to reduce the friction to a minimum, the inspector should be clothed with discretionary power, for chemists will differ, and steel will not be absolutely uniform, and different rolled sections will give different results.
Some engineers require that inspectors shall watch every detail of manufacture by night and day. This provision may be necessary in some cases, but it is sometimes very unjust. A contract is often divided among two or more works, and it may happen that one of these succeeds in overcoming certain difficulties by ingenuity and study. Such an advantage is. the rightful property of the originator, and the works making the discovery is entitled to all the gain that may result therefrom. Under this inquisitory system it is impossible to keep secret any detail of manipulation, since the inspectors, who travel from one works to another, will natural!}' carry such information to unsuccessful manufacturers. This may be done from the most commendable motives, but the result is more pleasant to Utopian philosophers than to business rivals.